When originally developing my Culture Mind Map, I completed this activity in the first week of our EDU 604 Diversity in 21st Century Education course. On one side, I completed my mind map from my prior knowledge. I then completed our first week’s readings and built on my existing knowledge and expanded on what I felt culture was. This allowed me to quickly see all that I had to learn about culture and the impact that one’s cultural background has on students and the role it plays in each student’s academic success.
What stood out to me most from my original mind map, in comparison to the updated version after completing our Unit 1 activities, was that culture is constantly evolving and shifting based on certain situations that students or people are placed in. I think this was what stood out to me right away in this course and what has stuck with me throughout the past eight weeks. I have learned through our activities that a person’s cultural background changes based on the interactions between different people. Prior to this course, I never thought a culture changed or shifted. I thought culture was something that people were born into and that remained the same based on a family’s cultural values and beliefs. However, I learned throughout this course that a person’s culture can shift through collaborative discussions; people learn diverse perspectives, which may shift their views on something. Through different social settings, people learn diverse perspectives or share different perspectives, causing each person to grow and change. This was something that I did not originally think about when developing my own definition of culture.
Now, after analyzing my mind map of culture from our first week of class, I started to piece together the importance of each of the attributes of culture and the role that culture plays in education. A student’s cultural background is what defines them and who they are. Without identifying someone’s cultural background, you aren’t necessarily allowing them to be themselves. It is essential as an educator to provide opportunities within the classroom to allow for each student’s culture to exist, in order for cultures to continue evolving and growing and to support students in sharing their differences and similarities in order for diverse perspectives to be heard.
Looking back over the past eight weeks of this course, I have learned the importance of developing “cultural proficiency,” in the classroom which is “acknowledging the differences among different cultural families and learning about each individual student,” (Goski, 2014). I feel this is essential to develop as an educator. As stated in the Effective Teaching Strategies for Middle School Learners (2007) article, teaching diverse students in middle school is a difficult challenge and it is important to understand how to best support your learners in order to help them succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Culture encompasses many different factors, which is clear from the mind map that I created. You cannot sum up culture in one short phrase. This is why it is critical that educators learn how to incorporate each of the elements into their classroom so that the whole child can be reached.
Allison, B. N., & Rehm, M. L. (2007). Effective Teaching Strategies for Middle School Learners in Multicultural, Multilingual Classrooms. Middle School Journal, 39(2), 12–18. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=8a9f8479-6fef-4a3a-b257-5e0e49601400%40sessionmgr4005&vid=1&hid=4105
Goski, P. (April 10, 2014). Imagining Equity Literacy. Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved from